Wednesday, July 30, 2014




This morning I read two headlines (links given below the headline):



After reading the two reports, I thought to myself.

“Short Service Commission” !

“Attractive” ?

How can “Short Service Commission” be “Attractive” ?

At first I thought it was humour in uniform.

Then I read that Army was planning to extend the tenure of Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers to 18 years.

Why 18 years?

Why not 20 years?

If they make the SSC tenure 20 years, then SSC Officers will be eligible for pension and other post-retirement benefits for ex-servicemen which can be availed only after completing 20 years service.

So, if Army really wants to make “Short Service Commission” “Attractive” then it is best to extend the SSC tenure to 20 years so that SSC Officers get pension and better post-retirement benefits similar to their Permanent Commission (PC) counterparts who retire after 20 years service.

Or, better still, why not scrap the concept of “Short Service Commission” and grant “Permanent Commission” to all Army Officers?

First they had Short Service Commission (SSC) tenure for 5 years, then 7 years, then 10 years, then 14 years, now they want it for 18 years – wonder why this piecemeal approach – why have two types of officers  why not just have Permanent Commission (PC) for all officers?

A few months ago, while chatting with ex-fauji buddies, a discussion came up whether Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers were ex-servicemen or not?

Well, I do not know whether this is true or not, but someone said that a minimum 20 years service (pensionable service) is required for getting the status of a Veteran Ex-Serviceman and ESM facilities, and so, Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers who served for 5, 7, 10 or 14 years were not considered ex-servicemen.

Another ex-fauji opined that the worst thing to do was to join as an SSC Officer - you were neither here nor there - and you were treated as a second class citizen in the army.

When I was in the Navy, both PC and SSC Officers had the same training at the same academy (Naval Academy).

So, PC and SSC Officers were professionally on par with each other.

My ex-fauji friend said that in the Army, the PC Officers were trained at the prestigious Indian Military Academy (IMA) whereas the SSC Officers were trained at the Officers Training Academy (OTA), and, in his opinion, there was a difference in standards of training, and so, in the Army, SSC Officers were not considered on par with PC Officers (this was his view).

It is my view that if you are really interested in a military career it is best to join as a Permanent Commission (PC) Officer.

I have very fond memories of serving with Short Service Commission Officers, men and women, in the Navy, many of whom, in my opinion, were professionally more competent and certainly more sincere than their fellow Permanent Commission (PC) Officers.

All this made me hark back to a blog post I had written long ago on this topic of how SSC Officers get a raw deal as compared to PC Officers.

So here is the article, once more, for your perusal and comments.

Musings on a Military Career in the Army Navy and Air Force

1. Please read this article only if you have a sense of humor. It is a spoof, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh. 
2. These are my personal views.
3. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)


Do you like sugarcane juice? 

They say sugarcane juice is healthy. 

Sugarcane juice strengthens your organs like your brain, heart, stomach, kidneys, eyes and sex organs.

Sugarcane juice has plenty of protein and iron, prevents sore throat, cold and flu, and is a panacea for many ills.

Besides, sugarcane juice is a most refreshing drink.

I just love a tall cool restorative glass of sugarcane juice on a hot dry afternoon to quench my thirst and beat the heat. 

Have you seen the way in which they extract sugarcane juice?

The sugarcane juice stall owner squeezes stalks of sugarcane through the roller crusher. 

First he pushes through the entire sugarcane stalk, at least twice, to squeeze the juice out. 

Then he folds the sugarcane stalk into halves and crushes it again and squeezes the juice out.

Then he repeats this crush and squeeze technique again and again till there is no juice left till and the crushed remains, the fibrous waste bagasse, is absolutely dry. 

Now the man knows that there is not a drop of juice left in the crushed sugarcane bagasse.

But still he will push the totally crushed sugarcane through the roller crusher once more just to make sure that he has extracted the juice till the very last drop.


I narrated this metaphorical example of “crush and squeeze” style of Human Resource (HR) Management at the farewell party of a Navy Short Service Commission (SSC) Officer.

His permanent commission “hard taskmaster” boss wanted to extract the “last drop” from the hapless SSC Officer by “crushing and squeezing” him and making him slog even on the last day of his service till there was no “juice” left in the poor young man.

As I talked to the SSC Officer, I felt sad for him.

He was being released after 7 years service (those days SSC was for 7 years - and the SSC tenure keeps varying from 5, 7, 10 or 14 years from time to time as per requirements of the service)

The SSC Officer was still in his late 20’s, married with a small child.

He was feeling quite insecure about his future.

The 7 years he had slogged in the navy had passed in a jiffy and suddenly he was thrown out on the civvy street and left to fend for himself.

You may say that I am generalizing, but I have observed that Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers get a raw deal.

I have seen many Permanent Commission (PC) Officers who consider themselves prima donnas and have a “superiority complex” vis-à-vis Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers.

Many PC Officers feel that SSC Officers are merely in a “supporting role” and their role is to fill up junior vacancies at the bottom of the pyramid, and then leave, thereby improving the promotion prospects of the PC Officers. 

The yeoman’s contribution of SSC Officers is not acknowledged and hence they do not get the recognition and respect they deserve.

In a metaphorical sense, like the “sugarcane”, SSC Officers are “crushed and squeezed” till all the “juice” is extracted from them, and then they are shoved out of the defence services and left to fend for themselves in the civilian world.

The incident I narrated above happened more than 12 years ago when I was in the Naval Dockyard at Mumbai.

I observed that there were a large number of young SSC Technical Officers in the Dockyard and they were performing a stellar role.

All of them were Assistant Managers, who are the mainstay in a Dockyard, and their competence and performance were indeed praiseworthy.

It was ironical that while their Permanent Commission (PC) counterparts were busy undergoing training, doing PG Courses or enjoying cushy shore appointments following their sea tenure, the Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers were slogging it out in the field.

In my opinion, SSC Technical Officers, most of whom were engineering graduates from premier institutions (like IIT, NIT etc) were better suited for technical work on the “production floors” than the  in-house engineers being produced by the navy.

There a few Women SSC Naval Officers too.

I distinctly remember a couple of Lady Naval Architects in the Naval Construction Branch who were giving an excellent account of themselves working shoulder-to-shoulder with their male colleagues on the dock-floor and in workshops. They were highly technically proficient and it was openly acknowledged that they were as good as, if not better than, their male counterparts.

I also remember two accomplished Computer Engineers who were engineering graduates from prestigious Regional Engineering Colleges or RECs (now called NITs - in 2003, all RECs became NITs or National Institutes of Technology).

Just because they were women, they were being employed as Education Officers though their talents could have been better utilized in the Technical Branches of the Navy.

These technically gifted ladies had joined the Education Branch because, in the Navy, Women could not join the Sea Going Technical Branches (those days, women officers did not serve on ships - I wonder whether this policy has changed and whether women serve on ships now).

It was a sad waste of the finest human resource – a waste for the navy and a waste for the officers themselves.

In fact, this is what I feel about Short Service Commission (SSC):

From a long term perspective, isn’t short service commission a waste of expertise for the navy and for the officers themselves?

I do not understand the rationale behind having Short Service Commission (SSC).

Are SSC Officers supposed to be like the Contractual Employees in the Industry?

More than that, I wonder why young people want to join as Short Service Commission (SSC) Officers when the option of directly joining as a Permanent Commission (PC) Officer is available.


It is a myth that Short Service Commission prepares you for a second career.

Let me give you two reasons.

1. Firstly, if you are already thinking of a second career even before joining the armed forces, then why join the armed forces?

You might as well join your preferred civilian career directly from campus placement.

2. Secondly, it is a fact that “industry specific experience” is valued more in the civilian world rather than the “jack of all trades” experience you get in the armed forces (army and navy).

So what is the point of dabbling with something which will not add as much value to your CV (career value) as compared to specialized experience in the industry that you wish to finally join?

I have seen that after leaving the armed forces, most SSC Officers land up in the ubiquitous “HR” appointments rather than in specialized technical front-line appointments in the industry.

I have met many SSC Officers who are doing well in the industry, but all of them agree that they would have done much better had they directly joined the industry after college instead of taking a career detour via a short service commission in the services.

If you interested in a career in the civilian world and ultimately want to join the industry then why waste your best years slogging in the armed forces as a Short Service Commission (SSC) Officer?

And if you are really interested in a lifelong military career then why not join as a Permanent Commissioned (PC) Officer?

Short Service Commission (SSC) versus Permanent Commission (PC)

I am not sure, but in the 1970’s, when I joined the Navy, there was no such thing as short service commission.

I do not recall any SSC Officer undergoing training with us.

Officers joined either via the National Defence Academy (NDA) Khadakwasla Pune or Naval Academy (NAVAC) Cochin (Kochi) and both entries were for Permanent Commission.

An old Sea-Dog once told me that after the 1962 war, short service commission had been started in the navy for some years but then it was discontinued.

But it seems to have been restarted, since later, in the late 1980’s, I did come across a young short service commission (SSC) Engineer Officer on my ship while serving on a frontline destroyer.

I think short service commission proliferated in the 1990’s and thereafter  especially due to the induction of women officers in the navy.

I have heard of various durations of short service commission – 5 years, 7 years, 10 years and 14 years.

These tenure periods keep changing from time to time.

Someone told me that, at present, the tenure (or engagement period) of short service commission is 10 years.

Like I said earlier, if you are really interested in a lifelong military career then it is best to join as a permanent commissioned officer.

But if you are interested in a civilian career, it just makes no sense of wasting 5, 7 or 10 years of the prime of your life in the army or navy.

You don’t agree with me?

Let me give you two examples.

Suppose you a male and you take short service commission (say 5, 7 or 10 years).

You will be never able to settle down and enjoy your military life as the “Sword of Damocles” will be constantly hanging over your head as time ticks away.

I have seen many Male SSC Officers postpone their marriage till they settle down in their second innings in the civilian world.

If you are a Female SSC Officer, in the Indian Social Milieu, it will be difficult for you to remain unmarried till you settle down in your second career.

Maybe you will be almost 30 years old by the time you leave the navy and stabilize in your new career.

Now 30 is considered as an unmarriageable age for a girl in our traditional Indian society since there will be hardly any boys left to marry.

If you marry a civilian during your service then you will have to be ready for a long distance marriage which is quite painful especially in the first inchoate days of married life.

And if you marry a fellow naval officer – well then all your problems will be solved!

(If you are a woman army officer it is a great advantage to marry a fellow male army officer, and maybe it is the same for the air force too)

It is no wonder so many “sister” officers are marrying their “brother” officers and these “in-service” alliances are marriages of great convenience.

But let’s come to the moot point.

Why have a short service commission?

What is the solution?

But before I propose a solution, here is a small digression.


As you know, in 2004, the government introduced a New Pension System or National Pension Scheme (NPS) for all civilian government employees. 

NPS seems quite an attractive scheme due to its flexibility and its contributory nature (the government gives you a matching contribution).

One wonders why the Armed Forces were excluded from the NPS.

Maybe, as has happened in many other cases, like the Assured Career Progression (ACP) Scheme, the civilian bureaucrats did not want to give the benefit of NPS to the defence services.

Or possibly, the Military Top Brass did not want the NPS.

Maybe they feared an exodus of officers.

Because with the advent of the NPS, the “20 Year Syndrome” will disappear.

Also, if the New Pension Scheme (NPS) is introduced in the Armed Forces, concepts like Permanent Commission (PC) and Short Service Commission (SSC) will become irrelevant.

But that is another story.

The moot point is “Do SSC Officers Get a Raw Deal?”


Tell me, especially if you are a Short Service Commission (SSC) Officer, did you like the “sugarcane juice story”, and do you feel that SSC officers get a raw deal?

If you are a Permanent Commission (PC) Officer, I urge you to reflect whether it is fair to apply the “crush and squeeze” style of Human Resource (HR) Management to SSC Officers.

And instead of tinkering with tenures, why have Short Service Commission (SSC) at all?

Why have two classes of officers?

Why not scrap the concept of Short Service Commission and have only the Permanent Commission for all officers?

Any Comments - especially from SSC Officers?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. Views are personal.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Does Spending Money Translate into Defence Preparedness?

Defence Preparedness: An unforgiving opportunity » Indian Defence Review

Does allocating a huge budget for Defence actually translate into Defence Preparedness?

Click the link above and read the article on DEFENCE PREPAREDNESS in IDR


Fiction Short Story

From my Creative Writing Archives: 

Here is a story I wrote 7 years ago, in the year 2007.

If you are a creative writer, do you remember the moment when you saw your first creative effort published, your very own words in print, for the world to read?
I do. 
It was the happiest moment of my life when I saw my first fiction short story published in the Sunday literary supplement of a newspaper long long back. 

(Well  literary supplements have disappeared long back and today we have page 3 gossip and entertainment news in their place).
Tell me, dear reader, what inspires you to write...?
Do you have a “Creative Engine”  -  a creative engine which acts as a muse to inspire you and help you unleash your creative talents...?
Some of us may be inspired by a Muse.
Here is a simple Story of a Poet and his Muse; an Engine Driver and his Creative Engine. 

If you are a creative person, a writer, a painter, a blogger, anyone creative, I am sure you will like the story. 


Chotte Lal is in seventh heaven, on cloud nine – call it what you like.

But one thing is sure. This is the happiest moment of his life.

Chotte Lal experiences a delightfully beautiful emotion as he looks lovingly at his own words printed on the top left hand corner of the last page of the newspaper.

Chotte Lal experiences an ecstatic feeling of pride, joy, thrill – I really have no words to describe this unique emotion, but if you are a writer, just recall the moment when you saw your first creative effort in print, and you will understand what I mean.

Chotte Lal reads his poem to himself, slowly, deliberately, tenderly, drinking in each word, drowns his self in his creation, in a state of blissful timelessness, till the bookstall owner roughly shakes him out of his idyllic reverie loudly asking for money for the newspaper.

Chotte Lal pays him, and then, continuing to read his own poetry, walks with a spring in his step towards the running room to share his happiness with his colleagues. 

And as he strides down the long platform towards his destination, let me tell you a bit about Chotte Lal, the hero of our story, an Engine Driver in the railways.

Chotte Lal’s father was a humble gangman whose life’s ambition was to make his motherless son an Engine Driver.

Everyday as he looked up from his lowly place beside the railway tracks fascinated by the sight of the haughty engine drivers speeding by, roughly snatch the tokens he held up for them, and then rudely throw their tokens kept in small leather pouches mounted on large cane rings at a distance for him to fetch and hand over to the signalman, his resolve became stronger and stronger, and Chotte Lal's father dreamed of the moment when his son, sitting in the driver’s seat, would pick up the token from him.

The day his dutiful obedient son Chotte Lal was selected as an engine driver, his father was so overjoyed, that he celebrated all night, indulging himself so much that he died of liver failure in the morning.

Now let’s get back to our story and see what our hero Chotte Lal is up to.

Chotte Lal walks into the driver running room. No one notices. His fellow drivers are busy playing cards.

“See. See. My poem has been published,” Chotte Lal says excitedly holding out the newspaper.

A driver takes the newspaper from his hands and says. “Hey, look, there is going to be a pay hike…” and he begins reading the headlines from the front page as the others listen.

“No. No. Not there. My poem is on the back page,” Chotte Lal says.


Chotte Lal turns the paper and shows him.

“Good,” the driver says even without reading the poem, turns back to the first page and begins reading aloud details of the pay hike.

“Illiterate Greedy Dopes. Bloody Riff Raff...! Only interested in money,” Chotte Lal says in anger snatching the paper.

“Oh yes, we are illiterates worried about money, not philosophers like you wasting your time writing poetry,” someone says.

“Why don’t you become a Professor instead of wasting time here?” another taunts. 

“Or join the film industry, write poems for songs, sher-shairy…” they jeer.

Chotte Lal walks out in a huff.

But let me tell you dear reader that the drivers are right.

Chotte Lal certainly doesn’t belong here amongst this hard drinking rough and earthy fraternity.

Chotte Lal lives on a higher plane – while his compatriots drink and gamble to pass their time in their leisure and changeover breaks, Chotte Lal reads, and now, he writes.

Had Chotte Lal got the proper opportunity he would be a man of erudition, but as I have already told you, circumstances willed otherwise and poor Chotte Lal he had no choice.

Chotte Lal is a good engine driver. He is happy in his job and content with life. He never gets bored with the long waits for he always carries with him a good book to read. And now he’s started writing - yes, creative writing.

Chotte Lal always wanted to write but did not know how till one evening, while waiting for a signal, the glorious spectacle of the setting sun, the picturesque countryside, the villagers hurrying home, the birds chirping returning to their nests, the endless tracks disappearing into the horizon in front of him, the whole scene in its entirety, inspired him so much that the spark of creativity was ignited within him and for the first time he poured out his inner feelings on paper, and thereby was born his first creative effort, a poem – Waiting for the Signal.

Chotte Lal lives in a typical railway town, a relic of the Raj, with its spacious well laid out railway colony with huge bungalows and neat cottages, amidst plenty of greenery and expanse.

This quaint mofussil town boasts of a newspaper – a four page tabloid really.

The back page of this local rag features crosswords, tit-bits, and creative contributions from readers, which Chotte Lal always reads with avid interest and it was his dream to see his own creative writing printed right there on that page one day.  

So he neatly wrote down his first creative composition “Waiting for the Signal” on a foolscap sheet of paper torn from his daughter’s notebook and personally submitted his contribution to the editor who gave him an amused look and said, “We’ll see!”

Chotte Lal waited, and waited, almost lost hope, and now, at long last, his poem had been published.

Chotte Lal walks conspicuously towards the exit of the Railway Station, deliberately stopping by at the Station Master’s Office, the ASMs, the Train Clerks, the TTEs, yearning for appreciation, hoping someone would say something, but all he gets is smiles of forced geniality.

“Useless fellows!” he says to himself, and then begins walking fast towards his house eager to show his poem to his wife and children.

Seeing Chotte Lal walk past his dhaba without even a glance in that direction, Ram Bharose senses something terribly is wrong, for every time Chotte Lal returns from duty he always stops by at Ram Bharose’s Dhaba for a cup of tea and to pick up a parcel of Anda-Bun for Engine, his pet dog.   

As always, Engine is the first to welcome him at the compound gate of his home and gives him the customary enthusiastic reception, playful, vigorously wagging his tail, barking, jumping, running – but today Chotte Lal’s response is different – he just walks by –  no hugging, no fondling, no baby-talk and most importantly no Anda-Bun.

Engine is confused at his Master’s odd behaviour and follows him loyally towards the door of the cottage.

Chotte Lal rings the bell.

His wife of twenty years opens the door, gives him a preoccupied look, and begins walking towards the kitchen.

“See, See,” Chotte Lal says with childlike enthusiasm, “My poem had been published in the newspaper.”

“Poem...? What Poem...?” his wife asks.

Chotte Lal hands over the tabloid to his wife and shows her the poem – Waiting for the Signal.

His wife gives it a cursory glance and asks, “How much did they pay you for it...?”

“Pay me...? What are you talking...?” Chotte Lal asks puzzled.

“Yes. Pay you. Don’t tell me you are doing this for charity. Or maybe the poem is so third rate that they haven’t thought it worth even a paisa,” his wife says scornfully.

“Please!” Chotte Lal raises his voice getting angry, “This beautiful poem is the fruit of my creative effort, not some item for sale. Where is the question of money? You will never understand the value of creative reward!”

“Creative reward my foot...! This good for nothing local rag prints a poem of yours and you are boasting as if you have won the Nobel Prize...!” his wife mocks. “Why don’t you stop wasting your time doing all this nonsense and join my brother’s transport business – he wants to make you the Regional Manager.”

“I don’t want to go to the city.”

“You want to rot in this godforsaken place driving engines all your life?”

“I like my job. I like this place. I like to read and write.”

“Oh yes, now all you will be doing is wasting your time and your effort writing all this nonsense for free, when you could be earning handsomely if you put in the same efforts elsewhere!”

“I am happy where I am and content with what I have.”

“Oh, sure. You are happy to live in a gutter and watch other men climb mountains!”

“Papa, Mama is right,” his daughter interjects appearing suddenly, “Why don’t you retire and take your pension and then take up the job uncle is offering you as regional manager in his transport business and let us all move to the city...?”

“Here, here,” the father says excitedly, giving the newspaper to his daughter, “My poem is published today. Read it and tell me how you like it.”

“You can read it later. Have your breakfast first,” her mother says sternly, “you’re getting late for college.”

“Take the newspaper with you. Show my poem to your friends, your teacher,” he says.

A horn honks. The girl puts the newspaper in her bag and rushes out. Chotte Lal excitedly runs behind his daughter towards the gate and shouts to her, "My poem is on the back is called Waiting for the Signal..." 

A boy is waiting for her on a motorcycle. Maybe it’s her college classmate, her boyfriend, maybe… Chotte Lal realises how little he knows about his children.

His son – he has already gone to the city to work in his uncle’s company. He is obsessed with earning money and has no time for the finer things of life. Like mother like son. He feels sad. It’s a pity, a real pity. 

There is nothing worse for a man than to realise that his wife, his son are ashamed of him.

Maybe his daughter will appreciate his poem, his talent, his creative genius, his worth – after all she is a student of arts.

He looks at his daughter. She is talking to the boy, pointing to the rear seat, telling him it is dirty.

Then, she takes out the precious newspaper which Chotte Lal has given her. Chotte Lal looks on in anticipation. Maybe his daughter is going to show the poem to the boy.

Yes, Chotte Lal's daughter does take out the newspaper from her bag. But she doesn't even open it, leave alone showing her father's poem to her friend. She just crumples the newspaper and wipes the motorcycle seat with it and throws it on the ground.

Then she sits on the seat and they drive off on the motorcycle.

Chotte Lal experiences a pain much worse than if a knife had pierced through his heart.

His dog Engine rushes out, picks up the newspaper in his mouth, brings it to Chotte Lal, drops it at his feet and begs for his treat. 

Suddenly Chotte Lal realizes he has forgotten to get Engine’s customary treat – the Anda-Bun.

“Come,” he says to Engine.

He picks up the newspaper and they both, Master and dog, walk towards Ram Bharose’s Dhaba.

Chotte Lal looks at Engine as he happily cavorts and gambols in spontaneous delight at this unexpected outing.

“And now you have got a Pie Dog, a Mongrel,” his wife was furious when he had got the tiny abandoned pup whose mother had been run over by a train.

First he used to take the baby puppy along with him in his Engine, and his assistant driver named the pup “Engine”. 

But soon the word spread that Chotte Lal was taking his pet dog for rides in his railway engine and he got a memo with a warning to stop this practice.

Since then Engine remained home, and whenever Chotte Lal was away on duty, poor Engine was dependent on the reluctant love of his wife who Chotte Lal suspected actually liked the cheerful dog.

They, Chotte Lal and his pet dog, reach Ram Bharose’s Dhaba.

“What happened, Driver Sahib, you didn’t take your usual Anda-Bun parcel...?” Ram Bharose says.

“I forgot,” Chotte Lal says, “Give me one Anda-Bun now, and a cup of tea.”

Chotte Lal thinks of showing the poem to Ram Bharose, but hesitates. The poor guy may barely be literate. And if educated people like his colleagues, even his wife, and daughter, no one could appreciate his creative composition, how can he expect this country bumpkin to do so.

So he sits down and decides to read his own poem to himself – celebrate his own personal victory, and not be dependent on others for his happiness.  

He gives the Anda-Bun to his delighted pet dog Engine who sits at his feet and starts polishing off the boiled egg and bun hungrily.

Then Chotte Lal sips the piping hot rejuvenating tea and starts reading the poem to himself.

Suddenly he feels a nudge on his feet – it’s Engine, prodding with his paw, looking up expectantly at him, eyes dazzling, making a sound, talking, trying to say something.

“Want to hear my poem...?” Chotte Lal lovingly asks his pet dog Engine, affectionately caressing the dog’s ears.

Engine gets up, nods his head, places it on Chotte Lal’s knee adoringly, and wags his tail.

As Chotte Lal reads his poem “Waiting for the Signal”, his devoted dog Engine listens to His Master’s Voice with rapt attention, his eyes glued on Chotte Lal’s face, and his tail wagging in appreciation.

After he finishes reading the poem, Chotte Lal looks lovingly at Engine. Engine looks back at him with frank admiration, wags his tail, and proffers his paw as a “shake hand” gesture. 

Chotte Lal is overwhelmed with emotion. He orders one more Anda-Bun for Engine.

Delighted at his Master’s sudden spurt of generosity, Engine gratefully devours the delicious Anda-Bun and looks pleadingly at Chotte Lal as if saying: “Encore.”

“You want to hear once again,” Chotte Lal asks Engine, who again keeps his head tenderly on Chotte Lal’s knee, looks up lovingly at his Master, continuously wagging his tail, listening with rapt attention to his Master’s voice, waiting for him to finish, in eager anticipation for his reward of an Anda-Bun.

Many such recitations and many Anda-Buns later, dog and master, Engine and Chotte Lal walk back home. 

Chotte Lal looks admiringly at Engine – his sincere patron, a true connoisseur who understands, appreciates. 

He gets the inner urge to write, to express, to say something – Engine has ignited the spark of creativity within him.

Moments later, the creativity within him unleashed, Chotte Lal sits at his desk and pours out his latent emotions, his inner feelings, on paper, writing poem after poem, while his darling pet dog, his stimulus, his inspiration, his muse, his motivating “Engine”, sits loyally by his side looking lovingly at his Master with undisguised affection.

And so, the Railway Engine Driver Chotte Lal creates and his 
Creative Engine” inspires and appreciates - they sit together in sublime unison - the Poet and his Muse - in perfect creative harmony.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
1. If you share this post, please give due credit to the author Vikram Karve
2. Please DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. Please DO NOT Cut/Copy/Paste this post
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

First Posted by me in my creative writing blog in 2007 at url